Old puppets get new life at Puppet Festival (r)Evolution

Seth Shaffer works his magic behind the scenes of "Cinderella." Credit: Richard Termine
Seth Shaffer works his magic behind the scenes of “Cinderella.”
Credit: Richard Termine

Seth Shaffer fell in love the second he met Baby William. On the outside, Willy was sleek, simple and symmetrical, but inside was a complex web of wires and soldered joints. He was unlike any other puppet Shaffer had ever encountered.

The University of Connecticut MFA student pleaded with his professors for access to more of Dick Myers’ iconic characters like Baby William. He didn’t have to go far. The Dick Myers Archive has been housed at UConn since the puppeteer’s death in 2005.

With mountains of original notes, recordings and puppets, Shaffer set out to recreate some of the master’s original productions. On Friday he will perform Myers’ version of “Cinderella” as part of Puppet Festival (r)Evolution, the national festival of the Puppeteers of America, at Swarthmore College this week.

“He did everything himself — the puppets, sound, lights, scene changes. Everything! So that’s the way I have to do it, too,” says Shaffer, from the UConn campus. “It’s taken months to piece together how he pulled this off. Dick really didn’t like people touching his equipment. So I’m the only other person in the world that has performed a Dick Myers show.”

Myers created his stable of characters in the mid-’60s, from his Waterford, Connecticut, home. But he was always more appreciated overseas. In 1983 he abruptly stopped touring, and there are no surviving recordings of his performances.

“Dick was a bit of a recluse, that’s for sure. I think he always felt like an underdog, and every one of his characters has a bit of that in them. Cinderella grows up in poverty, but eventually goes to the ball,” says Shaffer. “Dick was somebody that didn’t have a whole lot in the world, but he loved when people helped him to become what he always wanted to be.”

‘Dick Myers’ Cinderella’
Aug. 9, 8 p.m.
Pearson Hall Theater: Lang Performing Arts Center
Swarthmore College
500 College Ave., Swarthmore
$15, 267-240-3679
www.puppetfestivalrevolution.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…